Life Amendment: You don’t even have to be pro-life to support this constitutional amendment. It’s a separation of powers issue – between the legislative and judicial branches. This amendment restores the right of the people through their elected representatives, not unelected judges, to make law regarding protections for unborn life. It does not ban abortion or change any current abortion laws. This is to correct a judicial overreach in 2018 where the courts “found” a right to abortion in the Iowa Constitution, something obviously not there. Without this amendment, the courts have blocked the legislature’s ability to put any restrictions at all on abortion. Without this amendment the stage is set now to allow abortion up to “birth”day, and, in addition to that, to require taxpayers to fund it. It passed out of the House Judiciary Committee last week with my support.
“2nd” Amendment: This is a constitutional amendment that guarantees the “right to keep and bear arms”. We are safeguarding law abiding Iowans’ right to protect themselves, their families, and their property. Iowa is one of 6 states that does not have a “2nd Amendment” in its state constitution and we should have one. The strict scrutiny legal standard has been included in this amendment because courts have developed this standard of review in past decades to apply to fundamental rights to address the many infringements on fundamental rights that have been committed by governments over the years. It passed out of the House Public Safety Committee last week with my support. Once this amendment passes the Senate it will go on the ballot in 2022. If a majority of Iowans approve it, it will go into Iowa’s constitution.
School Choice Issues
The governor is highlighting a number of school choice issues for the legislature to consider and released them last week. The following are what we will be considering in the days ahead:
- Requiring schools to offer an in-person option for those parents who want their child to go back to school fulltime. This issue came up because, while most districts found ways to get students safely back to school fulltime, a few refused even at the urgent requests of working parents. This will ensure that every family that wants in-person learning will be able to get it.
- Eliminating “voluntary diversity plans”. Five Iowa schools (Waterloo, Davenport, Des Moines, West Liberty, and Postville) are allowed to deny open enrollment requests out of their district if it will cause them to fall below certain diversity quotas. This came up because a family wanted their child to attend in-person and was denied open enrollment for their child out of the district because the district had a voluntary diversity plan. These plans have denied families for many years the choice of what school to attend. The decision to open enroll out of a school district should be the parents’ decision. It should be available to all families and all students.
- Charter school system – This would allow a public school to partner with a private group to create a charter school that would be free from certain government regulations.
- Educational Savings Accounts – This would allow a certain per student funding amount to go to the school of the family’s choice for their student. Those eligible for this program would be those in the lowest achieving schools.
Details of these proposals by the governor will be examined more closely in the days ahead. The idea behind school choice is that more competition between schools helps make all schools better, thus raising the quality of education for all students. Iron sharpens iron.
At this point, my main reservation regarding these proposals is the daunting specter of future heavy-handed government regulation coming down on these private and charter schools, which I would not want to see. It has been difficult enough working to roll back regulations on the public schools, which I have been involved in regarding mandated state standards (Common Core, etc., which is one of the worst) and other issues. I would not want us to find ourselves in a position trying to roll back regulations on private and charter schools in the future.
Summary of “The 1776 Report”
Last Monday while he was still in office, President Trump released The President’s Advisory 1776 Commission Report. The purpose of the 1776 Commission is to “enable a rising generation to understand the history and principles of the founding of the United States in 1776 and to strive to form a more perfect Union. A rediscovery of our shared identity rooted in our founding principles is the path to a renewed American unity and a confident American future.” This report summarizes the principles of America’s founding as well as how these principles have shaped the country. There is no doubt that America has become deeply divided. There is now a dispute over the history of the country which is impacting not just the present, but the future. As the report states “The facts of our founding are not partisan. They are a matter of history.”
“Of course, neither America nor any other nation has perfectly lived up to the universal truths of equality, liberty, justice, and government by consent. But no nation before America ever dared state those truths as the formal basis for its politics, and none has strived harder, or done more, to achieve them.”
The report lays out certain challenges that have arisen against America and its principles. They have several things in common. They have “reject (ed) the fundamental truths of the Declaration of Independence and seek to destroy our constitutional order. The arguments, tactics, and names of these movements have changed…yet they are all united by adherence to the same falsehood – that people do not have equal worth and equal rights.”
- Slavery – The Declaration’s “all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights” was a total contradiction to the existence of slavery in our country. As America wrestled with this conflict between its ideals and its reality, the movement for abolition grew until its goal was achieved.
- Progressivism –Through the years around 1900 progressives believed America had become too complex to be guided by the principles in her founding documents. They held the truths about our rights in the Declaration were not permanent but relative to that time. Instead they believed in the collective and group rights that are redefined and change with the times. They looked to government to be run more by managers or administrators. That, of course, has turned into the “4th branch” of government-the bureaucracy. The bureaucracy never faces elections and is unaccountable to the people. Progressivism still has a strong hold on America today.
- Fascism – This ideology waged war to achieve world domination (Germany in WW 2). It was totalitarian, that is, seeking to control every aspect of a person’s life. Fascism vigorously opposed individual rights and freedoms of the people. Thankfully America defeated fascism in WW 2.
- Communism – An ideological cousin to fascism, communism as well as its twin socialism, is just like fascism in its totalitarian nature and in its subjugation of the people’s rights and freedoms. The reason they did is as President Reagan said, both fascism and communism deny God. While communism was defeated in the Cold War, it infiltrated into our country seducing our young people away from the principles of America’s founding, that is, the beliefs in the equal rights and liberties of the people. It has spread its tentacles through culture, academia, media, entertainment, bureaucracy, business, and even the church.
- Racism and Identity Politics – Today’s racism and identity politics, in the name of “social justice”, has blown way past the goals of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960’s. That Civil Rights movement held to the American founders’ belief in people’s individual rights and freedoms. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said in his “I Have a Dream” speech: “…all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Today’s racism and identity politics embrace progressivism’s ideas of group rights and trust in government. It emphasizes group identities sorted into “protected classes” based on race, sex, and other characteristics that enjoy government-backed group privilege. It brings the force of government to impose preferential treatment in an effort to overcome inequalities, oblivious of the fact that this action creates more inequalities, division, and hostility. It demands not equal rights or equal opportunity or equality under the law, which is what America’s founders and King had in mind. It has blown way past that. It wants equal outcomes and equal results for all.
In conclusion, the report says, “it is almost impossible to hold to this creed (of the Founders) – which describes what and who we are – without reference to the Creator as the ultimate source of human equality and natural rights. This is the deepest reason why the founders saw faith as the key to good character as well as good citizenship…” The report also concludes the all Americans “should understand identity politics for what it is: rejection of the principle of equality proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence. As a nation we should oppose such efforts to divide us and reaffirm our common faith in the fundamental equal right of every individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Unfortunately, as the newly inaugurated president and vice-president, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are unabashed adherents to progressivism and identity politics, they have already dissolved the 1776 Commission saying the commission’s report “distorted the history of slavery” and it is no longer available on the White House website.